Philip Seymour Hoffman and Risking It

The clamor has died down about the drug overdose of Philip Seymour Hoffman. The fact that keeps repeating in my head is that he was clean for 23 years and then, in 2012, began taking pain pills and then more.

the_butterfly_effect_by_artfactotum-d4kffb5-o7e3kw-300x200The risk of every recovering alcoholic, drug addict, or person who controls a restricted diet through willpower is a single motion of hand to mouth. A single drink, a quick pill, a forbidden food can change a life. And the lives around that life. It’s the Butterfly Effect of evil.

It seems trivial, but one of the difficulties of my choice to lose weight and stick to a strict diet is that there is no medicine at hand if I eat something I shouldn’t. My only choice is not to eat the foods I should not. No mistakes allowed. Despite the urgings of friends and strangers with assurances that “everyone needs a little treat,” or “you have to have one day that rules don’t apply,” for me they do.

There is a risk of failure. But there is also the possibility of success. Each day without medication is a day away from the debilitating effects of long-term medication. The trick, of course, is not to put the hand to mouth, filled with the wrong stuff. That’s always the point, isn’t it?

In the distance, I hear the flap of a butterfly’s wing.

Quinn McDonald’s creative manifesto starts with self-care. It’s less fun than she imagined. On the other hand, she will teach at the Minneapolis Book Center in April.